All offences commence in the Local Court in New South Wales and are then either dealt with in the Local Court’s summary jurisdiction or if they are more serious, are transferred to the District Court.
Early Appropriate Guilty Pleas
The Early Appropriate Guilty Plea Reform commenced on 30 April 2018 and applies to all strictly indictable and elected table offences where proceedings commenced after 30 April 2018.
Service of the Brief
The first step in a matter dealt with under the EAGP scheme is for a magistrate to make brief orders i.e. for the Officer in Charge to prepare the brief. Police Prosecutors appear until the brief has been served and until orders for a charge certification have been made. The Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions will appear thereafter.
The DPP has a legal obligation to disclose all evidence that might reasonably be expected to assist the case for the prosecution or the case for the accused person.
In addition, the ODPP Guidelines requires prosecutors to make full disclosure to the accused of, inter alia, “all material known to the prosecutor which can be seen on a sensible appraisal by the prosecution to be relevant or possibly relevant to an issue in the case.
The Charge Certificate
The next step requires a senior prosecutor to review the charges laid and served on the defence and file a “charge certificate” with the Local Court, not later than 6 months after the first return date. That timeline can be extended by a magistrate if it is in the interests of justice to do so.